Tag Archives: Free Speech

European Human Rights Court Backs Sharia Blasphemy Law, by Soeren Kern

Has Europe supplanted its free speech traditions with Islam’s Sharia blashphemy law? From Soeren Kern at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • The European Court of Human Rights — which has jurisdiction over 47 European countries, and whose rulings are legally binding on all 28 member states of the European Union — has effectively legitimized an Islamic blasphemy code in the interests of “preserving religious peace” in Europe.
  • The ruling effectively establishes a dangerous legal precedent, one that authorizes European states to curtail the right to free speech if such speech is deemed to be offensive to Muslims and thus pose a threat to religious peace.
  • “In other words, my right to speak freely is less important than protecting the religious feelings of others.” – Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that criticism of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, constitutes incitement to hatred and therefore is not protected free speech. Pictured: A courtroom of the ECHR in Strasbourg, France. (Image source: Adrian Grycuk/Wikimedia Commons)

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that criticism of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, constitutes incitement to hatred and therefore is not protected free speech.

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Defaming Muhammad does not fall under purview of free speech, European court rules, by Lucia I. Saurez Sang

Heaven forbid anyone suggest that a man in his fifties who marries a six-year-old girl is a pedophile. From Lucia I. Saurez Sang at foxnews.com:

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The Fake Promise of Adult Day Care, by MN Gordon

Governments that promise to do everything for you inevitably turn out to be governments that do everything to you. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:

The sun always shines brightest in the northern hemisphere during summer’s dog days.  Here in America, from sea to shining sea, the nation burns hot.  But, all the while, cold dark clouds have descended over the land of the free.

For example, Senator Mark Warner – an absolute goober – is currently running interference for the Democrats on a proposal to silence political criticism.  Yet for Warner, and his cohorts, all political criticism is not created equal.  Criticism of President Trump is allowed and encouraged.  Criticism of Washington insiders, like Warner, is what they want to prohibit.

The guise of Warner’s would-be regulation is to prevent the bugaboo of Russian spread disinformation.  Hence, Warner wants to destroy free speech to save it.  Zero Hedge, via Martin Armstrong, offers the particulars…

“The Democrats want full disclosure regarding any online political speech.  They even want the Federal Trade Commission to have unbelievable power and require all companies’ algorithms to be audited by the feds as if they even have qualified staff to conduct such audits.

“On top of that, they have proposed tech platforms above a certain size must turn over internal data and processes to ‘independent public interest researchers’ so they can identify potential ‘public health/addiction effects, anticompetitive behavior, radicalization,’ scams, ‘user propagated misinformation,’ and harassment—data that could be used to ‘inform actions by regulators or Congress.”’

Unfree Speech

Free speech, under this proposal, would only be free if it’s considered acceptable by ‘public interest researchers.’  In other words, free speech wouldn’t be free.  It would be unfree.

Remember, it’s free speech that grants us the right, without fear of fine or imprisonment, to say President Trump’s an orange faced blowhard with whacky hair.  Similarly, because of free speech, we can say Hillary Clinton’s a political loser with the flare-up durability of ring worm jock itch.  Would ‘public interest researchers’ find this speech to be unacceptable?

What’s more, a vast segment of the population seems to have wet their pants with glee over Warner’s war on free speech.  They no longer have the sense or sensibility to hear or consider opinions that differ from what’s deemed progressively acceptable.

To continue reading: The Fake Promise of Adult Day Care

Leaked Internal Memo Reveals the ACLU Is Wavering on Free Speech, by Robby Soave

From now on, it looks like the ACLU will sort of kind of defend free speech, as long as that speech doesn’t piss off the wrong people. From Robby Soave at reason.com:

The American Civil Liberties Union will weigh its interest in protecting the First Amendment against its other commitments to social justice, racial equality, and women’s rights, given the possibility that offensive speech might undermine ACLU goals.

“Our defense of speech may have a greater or lesser harmful impact on the equality and justice work to which we are also committed,” wrote ACLU staffers in a confidential memoobtained by former board member Wendy Kaminer.

It’s hard to see this as anything other than a cowardly retreat from a full-throated defense of the First Amendment. Moving forward, when deciding whether to take a free speech case, the organization will consider “factors such as the (present and historical) context of the proposed speech; the potential effect on marginalized communities; the extent to which the speech may assist in advancing the goals of white supremacists or others whose views are contrary to our values; and the structural and power inequalities in the community in which the speech will occur.”

The memo’s authors assert that this does not amount to a formal change in policy, and is merely intended as guidelines that will assist ACLU affiliates in deciding which cases to take.

Kaminer, though, sees the memo as yet more evidence that the ACLU “has already lost its zeal for vigorously defending the speech it hates.” As she writes in The Wall Street Journal:

The speech-case guidelines reflect a demotion of free speech in the ACLU’s hierarchy of values. Their vague references to the “serious harm” to “marginalized” people occasioned by speech can easily include the presumed psychological effects of racist or otherwise hateful speech, which is constitutionally protected but contrary to ACLU values. Faced with perceived conflicts between freedom of speech and “progress toward equality,” the ACLU is likely to choose equality. If the Supreme Court adopted the ACLU’s balancing test, it would greatly expand government power to restrict speech.

To continue reading: Leaked Internal Memo Reveals the ACLU Is Wavering on Free Speech

Supreme court cellphone case puts free speech – not just privacy – at risk, by Jameel Jaffer and Alexander Abdo

If the government can track where you are without a warrant, it will obviously violate your right to privacy, but it could also impinge on a variety of other rights. From Jameel Jaffer and Alexander Abdo at theguardian.com:

Carpenter v United States has rightly prompted concerns over surveillance. But it could also have drastic implications for personal freedom in the digital age

Police stand outside the supreme court in Washington.
Police stand outside the supreme court in Washington. Justices will soon address questions over the warrantless use of cellphone information. Photograph: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Less appreciated is the significance of the case for rights protected by the first amendment. The parties’ briefs make little mention of the first amendment, instead framing the dispute – for understandable reasons – as one about the right to privacy. Yet the court’s resolution of the case is likely to have far-reaching implications for the freedoms of speech, press and association.

The case, Carpenter v United States, arises out of the government’s prosecution of Timothy Carpenter for a series of armed robberies carried out in south-eastern Michigan and north-western Ohio several years ago. In the course of its investigation of the crimes, the government ordered Carpenter’s cellphone provider to turn over data it had collected relating to Carpenter’s movements. In response, the provider produced 186 pages listing every call that Carpenter had made over a 127-day period, as well as coordinates indicating where Carpenter had been at the beginning and end of each of those calls.

Importantly, it turned over these records even though the government had not obtained a warrant based on probable cause. Carpenter asked the court to suppress the government’s evidence under the fourth amendment, which protects the right to privacy.

To continue reading: Supreme court cellphone case puts free speech – not just privacy – at risk

Europe’s Out-of-Control Censorship, by Judith Bergman

Censorship is generally an incremental process, and Europe is well down the road. From Judith Bergman at gatestoneinstitute.org:

• If Facebook insists on the rules of censorship, it should at the very least administer those rules in a fair way. Facebook, however, does not even pretend that it administers its censorship in any way that approximates fairness.

Posts critical of Chancellor Merkel’s migrant policies, for example, can be categorized as “Islamophobia”, and are often found to violate “Community Standards”, while incitement to actual violence and the murder of Jews and Israelis by Palestinian Arabs is generally considered as conforming to Facebook’s “Community Standards”.

Notwithstanding the lawsuits, Facebook’s bias is so strong that it recently restored Palestinian Arab terrorist group Fatah’s Facebook page, which incites hatred and violence against Jews — despite having shut it down only three days earlier. In 2016 alone, this page had a minimum of 130 posts glorifying terror and murder of Jews.

Germany has formally announced its draconian push towards censorship of social media. On March 14, Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas announced the plan to formalize into law the “code of conduct”, which Germany pressed upon Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in late 2015, and which included a pledge to delete “hate speech” from their websites within 24 hours.

“This [draft law] sets out binding standards for the way operators of social networks deal with complaints and obliges them to delete criminal content,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement announcing the planned legislation.

“Criminal” content? Statements that are deemed illegal under German law are now being conflated with statements that are merely deemed, subjectively and on the basis of entirely random complaints from social media users — who are free to abuse the code of conduct to their heart’s content — to be “hate speech”. “Hate speech” has included critiques of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s migration policies. To be in disagreement with the government’s policies is now potentially “criminal”. Social media companies, such as Facebook, are supposed to be the German government’s informers and enforcers — qualified by whom and in what way? — working at the speed of light to comply with the 24-hour rule. Rule of law, clearly, as in North Korea, Iran, Russia or any banana-republic, has no place in this system.

To continue reading: Europe’s Out-of-Control Censorship

Canada’s New Blasphemy Laws, by Khadija Khan

Free speech is taking hits around the globe, mostly to appease Muslims. From Khadija Khan at gatestoneinstitute.org:

• Although these motions against “Islamophobia” are not legally binding, extremists have already started demanding them as laws.

People in hostile societies put their lives at risk by speaking against the majority; meanwhile, shutting out any criticism against hardliner behaviour in the West actually means giving extremists a license to keep on committing atrocities.

• Motions such as these are how most Muslim societies — and other authoritarian states — were founded: by depriving citizens of the basic right to express a difference of opinion, and worse, on the pretense of “doing good.” The blasphemy laws of Pakistan were introduced on the premise of protecting the sanctity of the people’s religious beliefs, but the laws only ended up meting out public death sentences to innocent and marginalized victims.

A resolution, M-103, seeking to condemn so-called “Islamophobia,” was introduced a few weeks ago in the peaceful country of Canada by Liberal Party MP Iqra Khalid in the House of Commons, sparking a controversy.

A similar motion, labelled M-37, was later tabled in the Ontario provincial legislature by MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers on February 23, 2017, and was passed by the provincial parliament.

M-37, like its predecessor, demanded that lawmakers condemn “all forms of Islamophobia” and reaffirm “support for government efforts, through the Anti-Racism Directorate, to address and prevent systemic racism across government policy, programs and services”.

Although these motions are not legally binding, extremists have already started demanding them as laws.

To continue reading: Canada’s New Blasphemy Laws

A Tale of Two Talks: Free Speech in the U.S., by Douglas Murray

Milo Yiannopolous has never argued that either slavery or rape are good things, but a violent mob of thugs  prevented him from speaking at UC Berkeley. Jonathan A.C. Brown, during a talk at Georgetown University, praised Muslim slavery and slave rape. There were no protests and nary a peep from students or the academic establishment. From Douglas Murray at gatestoneinstitute.org:

• During his talk at Georgetown University, Jonathan A.C. Brown condemned slavery when it took place historically in America and other Western countries, but praised the practise of slavery as it happened in Muslim societies, explained that Muslim slaves lived “a pretty good life”, and claimed that it is “not immoral for one human to own another human.” Regarding the vexed matter of whether it is right or wrong to have sex with one of your slaves, Brown, who is director of the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, said that “consent isn’t necessary for lawful sex”.

• No mob of anti-sharia people has gone to Georgetown, torn up telephone poles, set fire to things or smashed up the campus, as mobs did at Berkeley.

Milo Yiannopoulos has never argued that the Western system of slavery was benevolent and worthwhile, and that slaves in America had “a pretty good life”. He has never argued against consent being an important principle in sexual relations. If he had, then the riots at Berkeley would doubtless have been far worse than they were and even more media companies and professors would have tried to argue that Yiannopoulos had “brought the violence upon himself” or even organized it himself.

To continue reading: A Tale of Two Talks: Free Speech in the U.S.

Tolerance, from Michael Ramirez

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-08/tolerance

Europe: Illegal to Criticize Islam, by Judith Bergman

What is behind Europe’s constriction of free speech, and why are sanctions aimed so prominently against those who criticize Islam? From Judith Bergman at gatestoneinstitute.org:

• While Geert Wilders was being prosecuted in the Netherlands for talking about “fewer Moroccans” during an election campaign, a state-funded watchdog group says that threatening homosexuals with burning, decapitation and slaughter is just fine, so long as it is Muslims who are making those threats, as the Quran tells them that such behavior is mandated.

“I am still of the view that declaring statistical facts or even sharing an opinion is not a crime if someone doesn’t like it.” – Finns Party politician, Terhi Kiemunki, fined 450 euros for writing of a “culture and law based on a violent, intolerant and oppressive religion.”

In Finland, since the court’s decision, citizens are now required to make a distinction, entirely fictitious, between “Islam” and “radical Islam,” or else they may find themselves prosecuted and fined for “slandering and insulting adherents of the Islamic faith.”

• As Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said, “These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” There are extremist Muslims and non-extremist Muslims, but there is only one Islam.

It is troubling that Western governments are so eager to crack down on anything that vaguely resembles what has erroneously been termed “Islamophobia,” which literally means an irrational fear of Islam.

Considering the violence we have been witnessing, for those Westerners who have studied Islam and listened to what the most influential Islamic scholars have to say, there are quite a few things in Islam of which one legitimately ought to be fearful.

To continue reading: Europe: Illegal to Criticize Islam

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